Gophers Take Down Hoosiers, 8-6
May 18, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Michael Nilles hit his second career home run and five different Hoosiers had two hits, but the Indiana baseball team was bested by Minnesota on Friday, 8-6. The Gophers pulled within one game of league leader Michigan with the victory, while IU sits in ninth in the final weekend of the regular season.
The Hoosiers got on the board first with a run in the bottom of the third using some small ball to plate a run. Keith Haas got the rally going with an infield single and he stole second to move into scoring position. Evan Crawford followed with a bunt single, and then Andrew Means brought Haas home with an RBI groundout to second to make the score 1-0.
Tyler Tufts pitched brilliantly through the first three innings, allowing only a pair of bunt singles, but the Golden Gophers got to the sophomore in the top of the fourth. Nate Hanson earned first base with a dribbler through the left side, then Kyle Baran followed with a slicing double down the left-field line to plate Minnesota's first run. Tufts then hit Dan Lyons and walked Bryan Jost before Derek McCallum plated a pair of runs with a single to center to give the visitors a 3-1 lead.
Indiana trimmed the lead to one on an unearned run in the bottom of the frame. Chris Hervey got on with a one-out single up the middle, and Josh Phegley followed with a high-bouncing groundball single to third. Sterling Mack then dropped down a brilliant bunt in front of the plate for a single, and the throw from Tom Buske sailed wide of first to plate Hervey and move both runners up 90 feet. But Buske got out of the inning with no further damage on a fielder's choice and a strikeout.
The Gophers chased Tufts from the contest in the fifth on five straight hits with one out. Three consecutive seeing-eye singles loaded the bases for Minnesota, and Baran added two more RBIs to his resume with a roped single to center. Lyons ended the day for the sophomore hurler with a double into the left-field corner to plate UM's sixth run of the game.
Joe Vicini then came on and stranded both runners with a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat with the Gophers up 6-2. Minnesota added a single run in the sixth on a walk, a sac and a single to make it 7-2.
The Hoosiers got back within two by scoring three times in the bottom of the sixth. A single by Ben Greenspan and a bloop double by Phegley gave the Hoosiers a pair of runners in scoring position. After Mack walked to load the bases, pinch hitter Reid Briglia hit a hard grounder to second that went through the wickets of second baseman Jeremy Chlan to score two runs. Haas followed with a sacrifice fly to trim the deficit to 7-5.
The Gophers got the lead back to three with a single run in the top of the seventh on an RBI triple by Tijl Vanderwege. But IU countered with Nilles' solo home run, as the senior roped a 2-2 Bill Johnson offering deep over the left-field fence for his second homer of the year and of his career. The Hoosiers rallied in the bottom of the ninth when Crawford and Means reached base with one out, but Jon Fixler's fly ball to deep left fell just short of the wall and Indiana was unable to draw any closer.
The Hoosiers and Gophers will square off in a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. Matt Bashore is scheduled to go against Gary Perinar in the opener.
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